NZIFF Line Up Released
That the days are swiftly getting shorter and colder is a happy reminder that we are accelerating towards the New Zealand International Film Festival. And tonight was the night thefull line up was released. See the full list (presented in sections) below:
UK/Australia 2009, 119m
Straight from it’s premiere at Cannes, Jane Campion’s latest film is headlining this years festival so if you can get a ticket, you’ll be amongst the first in the world to see it. “Sixteen years after The Piano, Jane Campion has found renewed artistic inspiration in a tragic romance to match the haunting intensity of that Palme D’Or winning feature” – Screendaily.
Los abrazos rotos, Spain 2009
Pedro Almodovar time-spanning story flashes back and forth between the present day and 1994. Mateo is a former filmmaker, now blind, reminiscing about a former shady financier who insisted his mistress (Penelope Cruz) was cast in a lead role.
Australia 2009, 105m
Australian director Robert Connolly (The Bank) tells the true story of the Balibo Five, a group of downunder journos (including one Kiwi) who were coldly executed whilst covering the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. Stars Anthony LaPaglia.
Spain 2008, 143m
An unbridled attack on organised religion, in particular Opus Dei, this Spanish hit is based on the case of a Catholic schoolgirl whose ‘exemplary’ hospital death in 1985 at the age of 14 has become the focus of a cult of sainthood.
Coco before Chanel
Coco avant Chanel, France 2009, 105m
Audrey Tautou puts Amelie far behind her with a stunning interpretation of the headstrong, self-sufficient designer who, in pre-First World War France, was one of the first women to assert herself in a man’s world.
UK 2009, 95m
Author Nick Hornby writes the screenplay for this British drama based on the memoirs of journalist Lynn Barber. A 16-year-old student can’t wait to shake off the constraints of her sheltered suburban London upbringing, circa 1961, and falls into a questionable romance with a man twice her age (Peter Sarsgaard).
Madeo, South Korea 2009, 129m
Thriller from Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host) about a mother’s campaign to clear her good-for-nothing son of a false murder charge.
Japan 2008, 101m
The latest masterpiece from Japanese animation genius Miyazaki Hayao (Spirited Away). Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, this is the story of Ponyo, a young and eager goldfish, on a quest to become human and befriend a boy…
The Strength of Water
New Zealand/Germany 2009, 86m
Directorial debut for Kiwi Armagan Ballantyne about ten-year-old twins Kimi and Melody, who live with their parents and three siblings on a farm on the Hokianga coast. The arrival of Tai, a teenage drifter looking to move into the local tapu house that belonged to his grandfather, precipitates a terrible accident.
The Black Pirate (1926)
USA 1926, 94m
The movies’ original, quintessential daredevil megastar and gallant rogue, Douglas Fairbanks was the architect and hero of this classic hit of the 20s, an action comedy containing some of his most astonishing gymnastic stunts. Accompanying a beautifully restored print visiting piano maestro Neil Brand matches his every move.
Neil Brand, The Pianist Speaks
Neil Brand composes music for cinema, theatre and UK TV, He scored – with theremin – the haunted house classic The Cat and the Canary. Actor, writer and teacher, he is also one of the finest exponents of improvised silent film accompaniment in the world. It’s that particular talent that he discusses and demonstrates in this interactive show which he originally devised for the Edinburgh Fringe.
The Cat and the Canary (1927)
USA 1927, 80m
A rare opportunity to experience Paul Leni’s 1927 haunted house classic, accompanied by the Vector Wellington Orchestra and an exhilarating score composed by 2009 Festival guest Neil Brand. A particular highlight will be a rare performance on the Theremin, one of the earliest electronic instruments to be invented – and possibly the eeriest.
The Gold Rush (1925)
USA 1925, 82m
Like Keaton’s immortal The General, the 1925 The Gold Rush places its comic anti-hero at the centre of a historical epic. Charlie Chaplin plays The Lone Prospector, a gentle soul among the throngs who’ve headed to Alaska hungry for gold. Conductor/composer Timothy Brock has worked with the Chaplin Estate since 1999 to reconstruct Chaplin’s own superb film scores, and will conduct the Auckland Philharmonia in this single New Zealand performance.
Spione, Germany 1928, 178m
A banner event for lovers of Fritz Lang (M, Metropolis), machine age decadence, or just plain pulse-pounding entertainment: the New Zealand Film Archive has imported from Germany a gorgeously restored print of the film that set the template for virtually every spy movie of the last 80 years. Neil Brand will provide piano accompaniment to match Lang’s delirious epic of espionage.
FPS is Auckland’s annual showcase for exhilarating experiments in Expanded Cinema. Curated by Sam Hamilton and Eve Gordon, it has become a premier merging point for film art, live music/sound art, performance and the exploration of cinema as a live event.
WORLDS OF DIFFERENCE
USA 2009, 107m
Showing a keen affinity for the embarrassment of his own formative years, filmmaker Greg Mottola (Superbad) brings back the ’80s and makes a coming-of-age comedy about a college graduate (The Squid and the Whale’s Jesse Eisenberg) who spends the summer working at an amusement park.
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, Germany 2008, 150m
Action-thriller tracing the lifespan of the violent terrorist group who called themselves the Red Army Faction and from 1968 into the 90s repeatedly attacked the German establishment. Disaffected children of the post-Nazi generation, they saw the US actions in Vietnam, the Middle East and the Third World as a new fascism.
Canada 2008, 93m
The first feature from the Arnait Video Collective, a group dedicated to honouring ‘the unique knowledge and perspectives of Inuit women’. Covering the final months in the life of the canny old Ningiuq as she nurses her ailing friend and calmly prepares her 10-year-old grandson to face an arduous winter and the responsibilities of manhood.
La terra degli uomini rossi, Italy/Brazil 2008, 108m
The perilous status of the indigenous Guaranis of Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul is revealed to the world in this vividly pictorial environmental/land rights thriller. Italo-Chilean director Marco Bechis worked for five years on the film and with the Guaranis themselves who make up its cast.
Spain/France 2008, 262m
Steven Soderbergh’s Che takes a remarkably dispassionate look at the iconic revolutionary hero.Che is in fact two films, which will be showing as a single presentation. Part One The Argentine depicts the 1956-58 Cuban campaign and ends in glory with Che and Fidel en route to Havana. Part Two Guerrilla follows Che’s disastrous attempt to repeat the Cuban strategy in Bolivia.
UK/France/Germany 2009, 100m
Love and cynicism duel for the lives of a grand courtesan (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her pampered young lover (Mrs Palfrey’s Rupert Friend) in Stephen Frear’s lavish adaptation of Colette.
A Christmas Tale
Un conte de Noel, France 2008, 150m
It may sound formulaic, but this drama of a sprawling, fractious, three-generational family Christmas abounds with character, wit and the filmmaker’s delight in the profusion and perversity of family ties.
Okuribito, Japan 2008, 131m
This Japanese drama, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film, is a character study of a man who finds fulfillment and a depth of human connection in the most unlikely profession – as an undertaker’s assistant.
Australia/South Africa 2008, 120m
South African drama, adapted from J.M. Coetzee’s compelling Booker Prize-winning novel, stars John Malkovich as a Cape Town Romantic poetry professor who loses his job after a reckless affair with a student.
India 2008, 101m
The directing debut of actress Nandita Das, this Indian drama examines the emotional and personal consequences of the religious strife and sectarian violence roiling Hindus and Muslims in contemporary India. Das sketched out the story and script for Firaaq with Auckland writer Shuchi Kothari (Apron Strings).
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
La premier jour du reste de la vie, France 2008, 114m
This popular French hit is a dramatic comedy about family dynamics and the urge to escape them. Covering the years 1988-2000, it follows Robert (Jacques Gamblin), who’s still being talked down to by his own father, and wife Marie-Jeanne are doing their best to allow their three children the space to go their own ways.
Flame & Citron
Flammen & citronen, Denmark/Germany 2008, 130m
The myths surrounding the Danish Resistance during World War II are scathingly reassessed through the eyes of two of its legendary heroes in this action-packed thriller. The most expensive film ever made in Denmark it was also a massive homeland hit. Stars Mads Mikkelsen.
USA 2008, 91m
Senegalese Solo is an irrepressible optimist driving a cab. One evening, the weary William (Red West, a former bodyguard to Elvis Presley) climbs into the back seat. His in-advance request to be left at a local mountaintop implies no intention of returning alive. Before Solo drives him there in two weeks, he’ll do anything he can to persuade the old man that life is good.
In the Loop
UK 2009, 109m
British political satire takes on Washington in this lacerating spoof of bureaucratic opportunism. Expanded from Armando Iannucci’s critically-lauded BBC TV series The Thick of It, this features a virtuoso comic cast with Peter Capaldi already a legend as the PM’s lethally foul-mouthed Director of Comms.
Germany 2008, 93m
A 21st-century refit of The Postman always Rings Twice set in the beautiful, economically hard-pressed German Northeast. Two colleagues start a business distributing snack bars, only for one of them to fall in love with the other’s beautiful wife.
Ireland 2008, 76m
A contemporary Irish fairytale about two runaway kids who spend a night in Dublin, 12-year-old Dylan evades his violent father and goes on an adventure with his friend Kylie, they spend their stolen dosh on wheelies and zip through the streets.
Looking for Eric
France 2008, 94m
“I am not a man. I am Cantona!” says the former Manchester United star, now an actor – this time playing himself in Ken Loach’s new comedy. He is a kind of fantasy figure who comes to the aid of Eric, a troubled postman who has always worshipped him from afar.
UK/France/Italy/Belgium/Spain 2009, 116m
Political correctness is shredded in an assault on contemporary ills so authentically tasteless it’s inspirational. After a children’s clothes factory closes, leaving its female staff jobless, hulking ex-con worker Louise, a woman of few words, suggests the workers pool their redundancy, recruit a hitman and kill the boss.
Morfiy, Russia 2008, 102m
It’s 1917 and Mikhail has been assigned to a tiny rural hospital far from the Revolution. Barely out of medical school and seemingly out of his depth, he soon takes refuge from the stresses of complicated childbirths and emergency trachaeotomies in the arms of his head nurse – and the oblivion of a morphine high.
My Year without Sex
Australia 2009, 96m
Australian domestic chaos. Natalie is a young mother trying to recover her health and a balanced view of the world after a terrifying brush with death. Matt Day plays her husband, and the title refers to his difficult year too, but he’s so reassuringly rock-steady Natalie sometimes wants to shake him.
Nordwand, Germany 2008, 121m
A mountaineering adventure more tense, more edge-of-the-seat suspenseful, than Touching the Void? Almost incredibly, this German drama, based on a true story of two climbers scaling the Eiger in 1936, is that film.
OSS 117: Lost in Rio
OSS 117: Rio ne repond plus, France 2009, 100m
A parody of espionage thrillers and French arrogance, based on series of French novels. Fabled spy OSS 117, aka Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, was the quintessential fictional hero of postwar France, criss-crossing the world to defend his patrie against slippery foreigners of every shade.
Bumazhny soldat, Russia 2008, 118m
This chronicle of Russia’s 60s space programme is the anti-Right Stuff. The cosmonauts who are shaping up to make history are hunkered down in bleakest Kazakhstan. The contraptions they train on might have been designed by da Vinci.
France/Belgium 2008, 126m
Portrait of French painter Seraphine de Senlis (1864-1942) an awkward small town housemaid who believes God has told her to paint. The intensity of these paintings, now considered masterpieces of modern primitivism, can still be experienced in galleries around the world.
Philippines/France 2008, 94m
A drama that follows the travails of the Pineda family in the Filipino city of Angeles. Bigamy, unwanted pregnancy, possible incest and bothersome skin irritations are all part of their daily challenges, but the real ‘star’ of the show is an enormous, dilapidated movie theater that doubles as family business and living space.
Song from the Southern Seas
Pesni juzhnykh morej, Kazakhstan/Germany/France/Russia 2008, 84m
Ivan is Russian, his neighbor Assan is Kazakh. They live in a small vilage in Kazakhstan. When Ivan’s wife gets pregnant and gives birth to a brown boy, he suspects that she has been cheating on him with Assan. Half a year later, Assan’s wife gives birth to a ginger boy. Whom betrayed whom?
Aruitemo aruitemo, Japan 2008, 114m
This quietly wondrous new film from the director of Nobody Knows and After Life demonstrates his mastery of a distinctly Japanese form, the ‘home drama’, savouring the balance of bitter and sweet in family life – just as it is and not as it maybe ought to be.
France 2008, 102m
French, Chekovian drama about two brothers and a sister who witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish the family belongings to ensure their deceased mother’s succession.
Ethiopia/Germany 2008, 140m
Haile Gerima (Harvest 3000 Years) is the cine-laureate of Ethiopia. His new film is an impassioned account of a country at war – and at war with itself – for 40 years. History is related through the epic journey of one man’s life and defining relationships from ’50s to the ’90s.
Wake in Fright
Australia/USA 1971, 114m
A brilliant, graphic broadside against Aussie mateship, Wake in Fright is an exhilarating blast of righteous alienation penned in the 60s and a legendary hard-to-see classic of 70s cinema. Stars Donald Pleasence as the town’s alcoholic doctor.
Dikoe pole, Russia 2008, 104m
On a remote medical outpost amid the mysterious and sublime beauty of the Kazakh steppes, a young doctor struggles to treat whatever bizarre wounds the wild winds blow in. Working alone, and with far less than the minimum of medical instruments and supplies, the detached and resourceful Mitya gracefully responds to a series of increasingly odd medical emergencies.
35 Shots of Rum
35 rhums, France/Germany 2008, 100m
The relationship between a father and daughter is complicated by the arrival of a handsome young man. The defining movement in the film is Jo’s inevitable drift away from home, observed with tender admiration for the dignity of the aging man and the lovely seriousness of the young woman.
The Beaches of Agnes
Les Plages des Agnes, France 2008, 110m
Agnes Varda was the lone female amongst the New Wave directors who shook up French cinema in the 50s and helped set the agenda for cultural revolution in the 60s. At almost 80 she has created a playfully idiosyncratic memoir of her sentimental education and life as an artist.
Barbe bleu, France 2009, 80m
France’s masterful Catherine Breillat (An Old Mistress,Anatomy of Hell) returns with this playful rumination on the allure of Charles Perrault’s 17th-century fairytale about a gloomy nobleman with a penchant for murdering his disobedient wives.
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
France/Italy 1962, 90m
We call her the Grandmother of the French New Wave now, but here’s the film that put young Agnes Varda on the map – or, more specifically, the streets of 60s Paris. Godard and Anna Karina make cameo appearances in this still bracing proto-feminist classic.
Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
Singularidades de uma rapariga loura, Portugal/France/Spain 2009, 63m
A young clerk spies a blond beauty at her balcony from his office directly across the street. His subsequent pursuit of her is an affair of tests, challenges and surprising discoveries.
Maria Larssons eviga ogonblick, Sweden/Denmark 2008, 130m
In a time of social change and unrest, war and poverty, a young working class woman, Maria, wins a camera in a lottery. The decision to keep it alters her whole life.
Four Nights with Anna
Cztery noce z Anna, Poland/France 2008, 87m
A crime-thriller in which a crematorium worker repeatedly breaks into a woman’s house at night to help with housework. A consummately surreal enactment of obsessive, unrequited desire with a drily ironic take on romantic love.
The Limits of Control
USA 2009, 116m
Jim Jarmusch’s thriller about a mysterious loner whose activities remain outside the law. In the process of completing a job, his journey takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness. Blimey.
Chi bi, China 2009, 148m [International version]
Action maestro John Woo returns to Chinese soil and his finest form with this historical epic (the biggest budget Chinese-language movie ever made) in which heroes and villains are equally complex, battle sequences are thrillingly visceral, and the spectacle is lush and abundant.
The Artist’s Life
La vie d’artiste, France 2007, 107m
Creative pursuit and its hazards are examined in this smart Parisian comedy about several ‘artists’. Alice dubs Japanese anime cartoons, Cora is recording an album of tradition French songs and Bertrand is a lousy high school teacher who dreams of writing.
Slepe lasky, Slovakia 2008, 77m
Wondering how differently love and happiness might be experienced by people born blind, sighted Slovakian director Juraj Lehotsky has made a beguiling, mind-expanding docu-drama.
South Korea 2008, 125m
In this Korean thriller, Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts.
Natsul, South Korea 2008, 116m
Comedy-drama about Hyuk-Jin, who has just broken up with his girlfriend and decides to take a boys-only trip to Jeongseon in the province of Gangwon-do. Only his mates get too drunk too remember their deal and he ends up going alone.
Kynodontas, Grece 2009, 96m
In a secluded, fenced-in country house, three 20-something ‘kids’ have spent their lives permanently grounded by their obsessively controlling parents. Even words that refer to the world outside have been reshaped by Dad to eliminate any hint of an alternative to domestic bliss.
Belgium/Germany/The Netherlands 2008, 80m
Belgian video artist Johan Grimonprez casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period. Offers a smart-as-hell mash-up of Hitchcock TV intros and movie moments, doppelganger plotting from Borges, 60s newsreel footage and instant coffee ads.
The Higher Force
Stora planid, Iceland/USA 2008, 80m
Ashamed for being a debt-collecting thug, kung fu fan David believes that he is an ugly duckling waiting to become a swan. Through an unlikely mentor he finds out that life has indeed something very special in store for him.
Homegrown Works on Film
A selection of NZ short films. Includes two Cannes entries – The Six Dollar Fifty Man and Lars and Peter.
Homegrown Drama on Video
A selection of NZ short digital films.
Homegrown Animation and Experimental on Video
This eclectic programme brings together the cream of Kiwi animators and innovators.
USA 2009, 94m
American comedy about two guys who take their bromance to another level when they participate in an art film / porn project.
I’m Not Harry Jenson
New Zealand 2009, 102m
Lurid Kiwi digi-feature about Sydney true crime writer Stanley who has too much knowledge of his next subject, serial killer Harry Jenson, and it’s weirding him out. His desperate agent suggests joining a tramping party in NZ to clear his head.
La nana, Chile 2008, 96m
A drama centered on a maid trying to hold on to her position after having served a family for 23 years.
Mascarades, Algeria/France 2008, 92m
This Algerian wedding farce delivers sharp character comedy and trenchant social satire.
Pranzo di ferragosto, Italy 2008, 75m
In this unusually delicate Italian comedy Gianni, a happily retired bachelor in his late 50s finds himself spending the August bank holiday stuck at home, with his aged mother and three other assorted old biddies on his hands.
Mock Up on Mu
USA 2008, 114m
A (mostly) true tale of the occult goings-on at the heart of the American space race. Mixing newly shot footage with an amazing array of archival clips foraged from schlocky pulp serials, industrial films and genre gems.
UK sci-fi thriller with Sam Rockwell as an astronaut nearing the end of his solitary three-year stint on the Moon, only to start losing his mind. Also stars Kevin Spacey as the voice of GERTY, a HAL-9000 type computer.
Our Beloved Month of August
Aquele querido mes de agosto, Portugal 2008, 150m
Surrender to this strange and wonderful film’s playful weaving between documentary and drama and its rousing soundtrack and you may feel the benefits of a summer holiday in the mountains of Arganil, Portugal.
Samson & Delilah
Australia 2009, 101m
Samson and Delilah are two Aboriginal kids whose world is small- an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival.
Mexico/USA 2009, 96m
The drama – featuring interwoven stories about Honduran teenagers trying to emigrate to the U.S. by any means necessary (and ultimately facing off with Mexican gangs who rob and kill illegal immigrants on their way north) – is so vividly constructed that it achieves an almost thriller-like urgency.
USA/South Korea 2008, 89m
In Seoul, Korea, two young sisters must look after one another when their mother leaves them to search for their estranged father.
UK 2009, 92m
The quirky story of Vera and Axl who both live in the same London warehouse but whose paths never cross until fate steps in. NZ musician Connan Mockasin makes an appearance.
Van Diemen’s Land
Australia 2009, 104m
The magnificent forest and riverscapes of Tasmania murmur their indifference as one of the most grimly resonant of white Australian settlement stories unfolds in this intensely impressive first film.
Bulgaria 2008, 92m
A turbo charged exercise in shirtless, shaven-headed macho chic, Zift plunges us into a 60s netherworld of communist era prisons, subterranean torture chambers and ancient taverns where no sun ever shone.
El cant del ocells, Spain 2008, 98m
The visual grandeur of Birdsong’s crisp black and white photography makes ‘minimalism’ quite a misnomer. Even when a given shot simply records the travellers resting, or bathing, or disappearing into the horizon and stumbling back in disarray, the compositions are rich in intrinsic, if subdued, drama, and the situations resound with no less understated humour.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Belgium/France 1975, 201m
Chantal Akerman was 25 when she made this avant-garde landmark, shown here in a superb new 35mm print. It remains a potent expression of the feminist, anti-bourgeois spirit of the ’70s.
Un lac, France 2008, 90m
A young woodcutter lives in these mountains with his sister, brother and blind mother. His solitude is only intensified when a handsome young stranger comes to work with them. These figures are glimpsed as fleeting presences in ominous landscapes that resemble the Gothic fantasies of 19th-century painting.
Waiting for Sancho
Canada 2008, 105m
Waiting for Sancho is a kind of experimental Making of Birdsong filmed in high-definition colour over five days in the Canary Islands.
Wendy and Lucy
USA 2008, 80m
Wendy (Michelle Williams) is heading from some unspecified personal disaster towards a new life in Alaska with her beloved yellow-gold mongrel, Lucy. She’s stranded in a backwater Oregon town, low on funds, waiting for her car to be repaired when Lucy goes missing.
Afghanistan/UK 2008, 88m
A look at how contestants on Pop Idol in Afghanistan risk their lives to appear on the show.
Big River Man
USA/UK 2008, 94m
Follows Martin Strel as he attempts to cover 3,375 miles of the Amazon River in what is being billed as the world’s longest swim.
A Blooming Business
The Netherlands 2009, 52m
Many of the roses that brighten the homes and work places of Europe are air-freighted from Africa. This doco looks at the rose nurseries in Naivasha, among Kenya’s biggest employers and talks with other workers, several of whom have risked their lives to film working conditions.
The Netherlands 2008, 90m
Dutch artist Renzo Martens spent three years travelling throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo asking the question: “Who owns poverty?
Canada 2008, 88m
Persuading eight of the world’s most provocative philosophers to express themselves in ten minutes flat, director Astra Taylor’s project is designed to revive academic discourse as a force capable of influencing the way we actually live.
Land of the Long White Cloud
New Zealand 2009, 75m
Florian Habicht describes his latest expose of the recreational habits of Northlanders as a ‘sequel of sorts’ to his classic Kaikohe Demolition. Claimed to be the largest surfcasting event in the world, the annual Ninety Mile Beach Red Snapper Classic attracts hundreds of anglers for five days every February to compete for prizes in excess of $250,000, with the biggest snapper taking out a serious $50,000.
Lost in Wonderland
New Zealand 2009, 52m
Kiwi doco about Rob Moodie, a straight man who turns up in court to defend himself on contempt charges calling himself Miss Alice and wearing the frock to prove it.
Love on Delivery
Fra Thailand til thy, Denmark 2008, 59m
Thai women and Danish men offer each other something less easily found at home in a pair of intimate documentaries that sympathetically explore marriages in which emotional comfort is frankly bartered for economic security.
La Vie moderne, France 2008, 88m
Filmmaker/Magnum photographer Raymond Depardon’s connection with the isolated farming communities of France’s Haute-Loire region goes back to his childhood there.
France/Belgium 2008, 100m
Simone Bitton’s intelligent, layered film investigates the death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie who died in the Gaza Strip in 2003 trying to stop army bulldozers from leveling a Palestinian house.
UK 2008, 103m
Investigates a South African organisation called Bobbi Bear, a collective of women, black and white, who fight to repair the damage caused by child sexual abuse and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
The September Issue
USA 2009, 89m
A look inside the production of the fashion world’s annual bible, the September issue of Vogue. Editor Anna Wintour granted the crew amazing access throughout what’s nearly a nine-month process.
Theatre of War
USA 2008, 96m
The Public Theater’s 2006 revival of Mother Courage in New York, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, provides the foundation for a canny re-introduction to the ever-invigorating Bertolt Brecht.
Themis As a Lady of Loose Morals
Femida, Belarus 2008, 85m
A scathing, all-out expose of the Belarusian social justice system and of President Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal regime. Title refers to Themis, goddess of justice and morality, now degraded beyond recognition into whoredom.
Er shi si cheng ji, China 2008, 107m
A once-secret military hardware factory and its workers were moved deep inland in the late 50s to protect them from a perceived Soviet threat. Now an aeronautics plant, it has shed many staff and is moving to a greenfield site, yielding its prime location to a luxury flats/shopping mall development called ’24 City’.
USA 2008, 88m
Documentary following ex-champion boxer Mike Tyson’s rise to the top and fall from grace.
The Unmistaken Child
Ha-gilgul, Israel 2008, 104m
As intrepid as his subject, filmmaker Nati Baratz documents the four-year search for a reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist master through the eyes of a sincere and passionate disciple.
We Live in Public
USA 2009, 90m
Foremost chronicler of mad prophets, Ondi Timoner (Dig!) weighs in with this densely suggestive, insightful portrait of Josh Harris, the dotcom millionaire and Internet pioneer who predicted our virtual society before falling prey to his own extravagant experiments in surveillance.
Yes Madam, Sir
Australia/India 2008, 95m
Megan Doneman’s gripping documentary about India’s most controversial woman, Kiran Bedi, is both a tribute to one woman’s single-handed determination to win justice and effect change; and a compelling study of how an individual with relentless drive creates impact in professional and personal spheres.
USA 2009, 94m
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renown dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
Wyonang sori, South Korea 2008, 77m
An elderly farmer lives out his final days with his wife and a loyal ox in the Korean countryside.
This Way of Life
New Zealand 2009, 85m
A kiwi doco following Peter and his wife Colleen over an eventful four years as they do whatever it takes to provide emotional security and a life in harmony with nature for their six children.
Kazakhstan/Germany/Switzerland/Russia/Poland 2008, 100m
A mesmerising, weirdly perfect blend of fish-out-of-water comedy, ethnographic documentary, social realism and awesome landscape photography, Tulpan provides an unforgettable journey to the Kazakh steppe.
Way of Nature
Naturens gang, Sweden 2008, 108m
Veteran filmmaker Nina Hedenius finds something like serenity observing the cycle of the seasons in a Swedish farm where the farmer, Karl Gustav Hedling, is working to ensure the genetic survival of certain native breed animals.
DANCE AND MUSIC
All Tomorrow’s Parties
UK 2009, 82m
For almost a decade All Tomorrow’s Parties have been occupying weather-beaten, out-of-season holiday camps on the English coast and turning them into a mecca for adventurously minded musicians and audiences. Features Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Daniel Johnston, the Wu-Tang Clan and more.
The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector
USA/UK 2008, 100m
Composer, ‘Wall of Sound’ pop producer extraordinaire and now convicted killer, the almost mythically reclusive Phil Spector agreed during his first trial to grant an unprecedented on-camera interview in his Hollywood mansion to filmmaker Vikram Jayanti.
Every Little Step
USA 2008, 95m
Follows the plight of real-life dancers as they struggle through auditions for the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. Also investigates the history of the show and the creative minds behind the original and current incarnations.
USA 2008, 112m
At LA nightclub Largo you never know who is going to perform – and texting in or out is strictly forbidden. A compilation of some of the great indie musicians and comedy acts that featured before the club moved in 2008 from its legendary original location.
RiP – A Remix Manifesto
Canada 2008, 80m
Brett Gaylor has made an adoring love letter to his favourite recording artist Girl Talk (Greg Gillis), but also raises some fascinating questions about sampling culture and copyright laws.
USA 2008, 92m
A documentary on the legendary soul music concert staged in Kinshasa, Zaire in 1974. Performances by Miriam Makeba, Celia Cruz, B.B. King (and Lucille), The Spinners, Bill Withers and more.
Trip to Asia: The Quest for Harmony
Trip to Asia: die suche nach dem einklang, Germany 2008, 108m
A must for any classical music fan, this film proves the principle that you never really know your colleagues until you travel with them. The Berlin Philharmonic are seen with their charismatic conductor Sir Simon Rattle during a breakneck concert tour of Asia.
Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
USA 2008, 102m
The Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour is widely admired for more than just his singing. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world of art, highlighting his efforts to spread technology in Africa and to fight poverty.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
USA 2007, 116m
A portrait of the great New York portraitist, he of the giant photorealist heads. It covers Close’s personal and professional history in a relaxed but thorough manner without stinting on documenting his fascinating artistic process.
Len Lye Discoveries and Rediscoveries
New Zealand, 75m
“Film is advanced art, not science, not education, nor box office – but utopia.” So said New Zealand’s favourite 20th-century expatriate artist and filmmaker Len Lye. This programme showcases that perennially refreshing utopian spirit.
Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine
USA 2008, 99m
Artist Louise Bourgeois, born Christmas Day 1911 and still going strong, is best known for her ‘Cells’ installed in many of the world’s great galleries, her giant public spiders and a prodigious body of potently mythic sculpture.
The Man in the Hat
New Zealand 2009, 73m
There’s an airy spirit of existential enquiry floating through this portrait of Wellington art-dealer Peter McLeavey. A fundamental biographer’s question – what makes this guy tick? – is quietly turned back on us by a subject who seems to live out a highly ordered daily existence in a state of perpetual curiosity about what makes any of us tick.
Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies
USA 2008, 60m
New York filmmaker and gallery owner Arne Glimcher followed his 2007 exhibition ‘Picasso, Braques and Early Film in Cubism’ with this smart, concise documentary which encapsulates the show’s thesis that Cubism was a response to the new technology of cinema at the turn of the 20th century.
Valentino: The Last Emperor
USA 2008, 96m
Billed as “a behind-the-scenes look at the world of fashion, featuring access never-before allowed in the high temples of Haute Couture”, this documentary biopic follows legendary designer Valentino Garavani in the wake of his exit from the company he founded more than 45 years ago.
Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
USA 2008, 84m
This architecture documentary is a treasure trove of modernist architectural eye-candy, like a Taschen coffee table book come to life. ‘Visual acoustics’ is a coinage of photographer Julius Shulman, and the film is a celebration of his decades of work shooting architecture.
Camera on the Shore
New Zealand 2009, 101m
When Graeme Tuckett turned his camera on Barry Barclay, his subject was in poor health, but reviewed his early adult life and delivered his own quietly proud assessment of his ground-breaking achievements as a filmmaker. He talks about the issues – political, philosophical and formal – arising from his lifelong project of putting Maori experience on screen.
The Neglected Miracle
New Zealand 1985, 106m
When this premiered at the Wellington Film Festival in 1985 few of us knew about the dangers of corporate ‘ownership’ of genetic crop resources. John O’Shea and Barry Barclay had already been working on the subject for seven years, shooting in Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Tangata Whenua 1
New Zealand 1974, 82m
The Spirits and the Times Will Teach. The first programme in the Tangata Whenua series focuses on the life and reminiscences of two kuia. Ngakahikatea Wirihana and Herepo Rongo.
Tangata Whenua 2
New Zealand 1974, 84m
The Prophets – Tuhoe Ringatu. The Tuhoe people of the Urewera country have maintained the Ringatu religion founded in the 19th century by Te Kooti Rikirangi. Also, The Great Trees.
Tangata Whenua 3
New Zealand 1974, 87m
Turangawaewae – A Place to Stand.Young Maori from Nga Tama Toa travel to Tokomaru Bay to help paint and care for the Tokomaru Meeting House, built during 1928-1934. Also, The Carving Cries. In a Tokomaru Bay meeting house there is a carving which the people say will weep when something in the Maori world is lost.
The Town That Lost a Miracle/Autumn Fires
New Zealand 1972/1977, 83m
The Town That Lost a Miracle. Opononi became the focus of national attention in 1955 thanks to a famously friendly dolphin. Also, Autumn Fires. Actor Martyn Sanderson returns at 39 to the Hokianga of his youth and visits his elderly and romantic aunt, Olive Bracey.
Animation for Kids
Freed from the narrow commercial focus of Saturday morning TV and returned to the hands of artists and storytellers, animation can be an outstanding way to craft tales, spark imaginations and build worlds of wonder for our Kids. This year’s programme is best suited to the three-seven age range. We think that means those of us at Flicks would like it too.
A selection of animated films, chosen from more than 2,300 entries.
USA 2009, 100m
A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, and directed by animation freak Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas).
Mary and Max
Australia 2008, 92m
Animated tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: eight-year-old Mary (Toni Collette) in Melbourne, and middle-aged Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a severely obese man living in New York.
The Secret of Kells
France/Belgium/Ireland 2009, 75m
Visually ravishing and doused in Celtic magic, Irish animated feature The Secret of Kells takes as its plot source and stylistic inspiration the 8th-century Book of Kells, an intricately illuminated Latin gospel that is widely considered to be Ireland’s greatest national treasure. Our hero is child-monk Brendan, a red-haired lad whose curiosity keeps leading him into scrapes.
SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 Highlights
International Showcase, 68m
Established in the USA more than 30 years ago, SIGGRAPH (short for Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) saw the wave of CG animation approaching long before most of us even saw a ripple.
The Sky Crawlers
Sukai kurora, Japan 2008, 119m
Anime master Oshii Mamoru (Ghost in the Shell) returns with his patented blend of viscerally thrilling aerial action and future-gazing philosophical rumination. Sky Crawlers is an adaptation of Mori Hiroshi’s sci-fi novel about a group of genetically modified eternally-young fighter aces in a world where war has become a company-sponsored reality game that never ends.
Best Worst Movie
USA 2009, 93m
A look at the making of the film Troll 2 and its journey from being crowned the “worst film of all time” to a cherished cult classic.
Embodiment of Evil
Brazil 2008, 90m
Before you can say oi menina, the screen is awash with nudity, graphic violence, maniacal dialogue, ghosts, cheese torture, wild sets, intentional and unintentional laughs, groovy music and a scene you won’t believe involving [deleted by censors].
Norway 2008, 91m
A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.
Drag Me To Hell
USA 2009, 99m
Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Evil Dead) returns to his horror roots for this thriller about a loan officer who, after evicting an old woman from her home, finds herself the new owner of a supernatural curse.
USA 2008, 85m
Madeline Matheson is eight months pregnant and determined to deliver her unborn child, Grace, naturally. When an accident leaves Grace dead inside her, Madeline insists on carrying the baby’s corpse to term. Weeks later, when Madeline delivers, the baby miraculously returns to life… With an appetite.
Australia 2008, 95m
A father has found out his runaway daughter has died of an overdose and he wants some answers. Discovering she was abused in some filthy homemade porno before her death, his rage becomes white hot, and his sole purpose to rid the world of every scumbag involved.
Ai no mukidashi, Japan 2008, 237m
A dazzling, demented epic filled beyond bursting point with Catholic guilt, kick-ass kungfu schoolgirls, a loony cult led by a teenage girl with a green budgie – and what has to be the most upskirt panty shots in history.
Bakjwi, South Korea/USA 2009, 133m
The latest from Korean auteur extraordinaire Park Chan-wook, the disturbed mind behind fan-favourite Oldboy. It’s a story about a failed medical experiment that turns a man of faith into a vampire.
USA 2009, 87m
Imagine someone filming your worst ever day at work. You ranted like a fool and swore a blue streak. Imagine those clips being passed around the bootleg tape circuit for two decades. Imagine that the footage eventually entered the pop culture fabric: you were quoted in Hollywood movies, and seen repeatedly by millions on YouTube where you were rated the world’s angriest man and one of the greatest swearers of all time.
The New Zealand International Film Festival opens in Auckland on July 9 and travels throughout the country, finishing up in Whangarei on November 25. Visit www.nzff.co.nz for the schedules.